How To End The Post Vacation Blues

post travel blues

I hesitated if I should write about this. I didn’t want to make a big deal of something that we may say is a luxury problem. On the other hand – I can’t ignore it. Post vacation blues, post travel depression (PTD) is real. And it hurts. (It is also something that pushed me to change my life.)

The symptoms:

After few weeks of traveling and resting, you come back home and you are depleted from energy. Even small tasks in front of you grow to huge problems. You need support. But nobody understands. You wish that you could magically change your life, leave your job, stay in Valencia, Portland, Bruges or San Francisco,  take any job and you would be much happier. Happier then in your “real life”. The makers of movies like: “Midnight in Paris” or “Bread and Tulips” must have dreamt  about it as well.

When I experienced it few years ago, I thought I was the only one. But then I started talking to people that just came back from trips, and it was clear that PTD is not so rare.

Possible causes:
  • You are bored.
  • Or frustrated with a part of your life.
  • Or all of it.
  • You have meaningless job, or an unhappy relationship, or overwhelming medical expenses ( or fill out the blank) and the trip you just came back from is in a very unpleasant contrast with your daily life.
  • On the other hand on vacations we see how others live and though we only see the surface, without much knowledge about things they struggle with, we compare ourselves and our 60 h workweeks to them.
  • We may come to a conclusion that this is “life” and in our current life, we have “no life”. We are under the spell of the magical places we visit…
Why didn’t all those things bother us so painfully before we left the city or the country?

It seems that when we are busy, with schedules filled out up to our ears, we grow thicker skin, we numb ourselves, we are on an autopilot. We reason too much. We justify discomfort. We do a lot of things we “should” do, just to not feel guilty.

So is there a way to avoid it?

Maybe we don’t need to avoid it. After all,  I think it is a good thing.

  • Post vacation blues can open our eyes on what we need to change so we don’t sleep thru our lives doing unimportant things.
  • It can teach us to be more aware of where we sacrifice ourselves unnecessarily.
  • It shows us that it’s important to be mindful of where we compromise too much.
  • It teaches us to find our passions.
How to minimize it:

Probably the most painful is to get back to work if you don’t like your job. If you have such possibility give yourself a margin between your return from vacation and return to work. So during those few days or a week (I said: if possible) you can catch up with what’s going on within you and so you have time to reevaluate which parts of your life need adjustment while your perspective is still fresh. You can also use the next weekend after vacations for this.

How to end it:

Here all the answers may be bordering impossible, but let’s see: Go for vacation to a place that is so much worse than your town, that you will be looking forward to be back home. This is not what you plan, of course. It is something that happens. (it happened to me) For a reason. This of course won’t get you  anywhere.

Another option:

Create such a fulfilling life and job you love that you will be looking forward to be back. I know people that made it happen. I know some of them very closely. Yes, it is a big change.

It can be done, sometimes almost overnight (change of perspective, the moment of decision), sometimes over a period of a year, couple years, depending on the commitments that you have. And on your boldness.

Reevaluate your commitments.

  1. What ‘s important?
  2. What can you eliminate from your life, that keeps draining your energy or resources.
  3. What can you eliminate without feeling deprived.
  4. What new things, people, experiences can you introduce to your schedule (since your schedule is your life) that will enrich you and bring you closer to having meaningful life.
  5. Does the new life include the current job? I bet this is the part that contributes most to your post vacation blues.

So how do you do it successfully? There are three universal components to it: Make a 100% decision. Take 100% responsibility. Take action. 

My returns usually resulted in decisions to enjoy life’s little pleasures more, and to simplify, simplify, simplify.

However, one time, in 2010, I came back from vacations, and my post travel depression changed my life. 


  • Jenny Tam says:

    I wanted to share my thoughts and feelings about traveling and the hardships that one might have to face in regards to being abroad or going home. So I created a page, do promotional garbage just kind support of other travelers. Feel free to come and chat with us. 🙂

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